Non-performing leases a major bugbear for GLSC – Commissioner
DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, December 19, 2017
The issue of nonpayment of land rent and non-beneficial occupation of public lands continue to bear down on the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission (GL&SC); something Commissioner Trevor Benn said, the entity is working to address.
Commissioner Benn, speaking to members of the media at GL&SC’s year-end press conference today, said that some 40 percent of leases are non-performing, depriving the Commission of billions of dollars and putting a strain on the entity. “We cannot just see it in numbers because this includes a deficiency in equipment for many many, years, but in terms of liquid cash, we were close to over $200 million in the red,” he explained.
Further, the Commissioner reminded that GL&SC is a semi-autonomous agency, that is required to make its own money. “When I arrived here, when the new board took over, we were hundreds of millions in the red and largely due to issues of that nature”, he told the media. And by “in the red”, the Commissioner explained that “it is the amount of money owed to the land agency”. He said while the Commission was able to make some headway in remedying the situation, there remains a lot more to be done.
“Today, we have over $200 million, but this is after we would have expended on a number of projects across the country and I believe that every effort will be made to change the way we operate in dealing with potential lease holders, so we now have a more rigorous system of collecting our arrears”, he further added.
When asked about the process used to address the non-performance of leases the Commissioner explained that the Commission usually sends the defaulter a letter which gives him/her six months to get things together. “If they don’t get themselves in order, steps can be taken to repossess the land”, Benn explained.
He said that following the appointment of the new Board of Directors and management team, the commission began implementing a number of measures, designed to ensure delivery of a higher quality of service to all clients.
Sharing some of the highlights of 2017, the Commissioner noted the entity’s compilation plans for various areas such as Great Diamond, Houston, Herstelling, Eccles and Peters Hall, its move to digitize cadastral plans, to improve the lease application process, and lease management system, with the completion of the Lease Revenue Portfolio.
By: Alexis Rodney